Last Thursday scores of Monrovia Kiwanians took to a local park to video tape a birthday message for the upcoming virtual Monrovia Days project sponsored by the city and chamber of commerce.
Donning masks of every size shape and color — the ever-present bear included —participants prepared for a truly unique moment in Monrovia history to celebrate the city’s 134th birthday.
Many of the Kiwanians hadn’t seen one another for over two months due to the stay-at-home mandate and were stunned and delighted when they noticed one long-time member, Hal Leavens, had grown a rather distinguish white beard. After the applause and laughter died down to a dull roar, Leavens joined his colleagues for the main event.
At noon, these talented thespians donned their royal blue Kiwanis shirts, posed for a group picture with the bear statue at the entrance to Kiwanis Park and then proceed to pick up musical instrument props to do a video while signing happy birthday as they descended the colorful stairs to the park.
Chris Shevlin struck a mean cord with his ukulele as Dianne Balsamo wore a “Happy Birthday” tiara and others just sang or clapped as the history was being recoded on a member’s iPhone.
Monrovia Days is one of the town’s favorite ways to get together and celebrate Monrovia, along with recognizing the scholars and champions who have worked so hard all year. Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, the difficult decision was made to change how the Monrovia Days celebration would look this year.
In place of the usual parade, carnival and entertainment, a unique experience has been planned for the community to virtually join with friends and neighbors to wish Monrovia a happy birthday right from the comfort and safety of their home. To celebrate Monrovia’s 134th birthday, a commemorative video will be created featuring birthday wishes from the community that will be aired during a special Facebook Watch Party on May 16.